The Vatican has ordered a Belgian bishop accused of child abuse to leave the country for “spiritual and psychological treatment.”
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruge, 74, resigned last year after admitting to repeatedly abusing his nephew over a period of 13 years. The abuse started when the boy was just five years old.
Now the Vatican agency that deals with abuse cases, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told Bishop Vangheluwe to leave Belgium altogether.
Last week, prosecuting authorities in Belgium announced that the bishop cannot be indicted because his alleged crimes occurred too long ago.
When he resigned Bishop Vangheluwe told a press conference in Brussels, “When I was not yet a bishop, and some time later, I abused a boy.” He added: “This has marked the victim forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim."
The bishop also said that he was “enormously sorry.” He had been bishop of Bruges since 1984.
Pope Benedict named Bishop Jozef De Kesel as the new bishop of Bruges on June 25, 2010.